Tag Archives: Best U.S. backpacking trips

What Zion’s Narrows Closure to Backpackers Means to Us All

September 26, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
A backpacker in The Narrows in Zion National Park.

A backpacker in The Narrows in Zion National Park.

By Michael Lanza

We rightly think of America’s national parks as inviolable public treasures, protected in perpetuity to remain unchanged forever, always there for us to admire and enjoy. Zion National Park’s closure yesterday of one of the very best backpacking trips in the Southwest—the 16-mile descent of The Narrows from top to bottom—due to a landowner suddenly revoking public access to the trailhead where the trek begins, reminds us that even the best-guarded treasures can be looted. Continue reading →

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the CDT Through Glacier National Park

September 24, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Backpackers hiking toward Piegan Pass in Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

After almost three decades of wilderness backpacking all over the U.S. and around the world, rarely does a new trip immediately leap into my all-time top 10. But that’s exactly what happened when three friends and I recently backpacked a north-south traverse of about 90 miles through Glacier National Park, mostly following the Continental Divide Trail.

Backpacking for six days from Chief Mountain Trailhead, at the Canadian border in the park’s northeast corner to Two Medicine, in the park’s southeast corner, we enjoyed the full Glacier experience, from daily wildlife encounters to scenery unlike anything you can find anywhere else in America—as I think you’ll see in this photo gallery. Continue reading →

June 18, 2018 Young boy hiking down the North Fork of Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

The Best Beginner Backpacking Trip in Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

As we backpacked up Paintbrush Canyon on the first day of a three-day family hike on the nearly 20-mile loop of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons in Grand Teton National Park, I kept a close eye on our kids. Our son, Nate, then eight years old, had taken a few backpacking trips with me already; I figured he’d do fine, but still, he was young. Our daughter, Alex, then six, was on just her second backpacking trip. I knew that making it fun for them would be an important first step toward nurturing a love for future wilderness trips in them. Continue reading →

June 3, 2018 A backpacker in Matterhorn Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

When I was a young, very green backpacker looking to expand my horizons on my first big backpacking trip in a major national park, my focus fell quickly on Yosemite. That fact certainly places me in the company of innumerable backpackers, of all ages and experience levels, who train their sights on this pearl of the High Sierra every year—for very good reasons. Simply put, few places possess Yosemite’s breadth and variety of scenery and inspire the same powerful sense of adventure. There’s only one Yosemite.

I’ve returned to backpack and climb in Yosemite numerous times since that first, unforgettable trip. And here’s what I’ve learned: Its backcountry harbors such an abundance of soaring granite peaks, jagged skylines, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and shimmering alpine lakes—plus, over 700,000 acres of designated wilderness and 750 miles of trails—that you can take many, many trips in America’s third national park without running out of five-star scenery. It unquestionably belongs on any list of the best national park backpacking trips. Continue reading →

May 21, 2018 Scrambling to the summit of Mount Heyburn.

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

When can you claim to know a mountain range well? Maybe it’s once you have spent enough time—certainly measured in years, and probably decades—that you have explored beyond the most accessible and popular spots to the obscure, unknown corners. Perhaps it’s when you have hiked most of its trails. Just possibly, it’s when you unfold a map and it takes several minutes to tick off for someone all the places you have visited. That’s a good start, anyway.

I’ve been exploring Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains for 20 years—backpacking and dayhiking, climbing peaks, backcountry skiing—and have fallen in love with these rugged, crenulated peaks. I think you’ll see why in this photo gallery. Continue reading →

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